Recently a brouhaha erupted when the A&E network announced that it was suspending "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson for controversial remarks he made in a magazine interview.* Robertson told GQ magazine that homosexual behavior was sinful, and quoted a passage of Scripture, I Corinthians 6:9,10, to back his assertion.
Was Robertson right? The passage cited reads as follows (in the New International Version, which Robertson appeared to be quoting loosely): "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Similar passages can be found at Gal. 5:19-21 and Eph. 5:5, although neither of these other passages mention homosexuality specifically.
The first thing to be noted about these passages is that homosexual behavior is just one of a series of vices that are condemned. It should also be noted that all of these vices involve various forms of human behavior. What is condemned is not a racial characteristic such as skin color or hair texture, but the conscious actions of human beings. In other words, God holds us accountable for the way we think and act.
But what is wrong about homosexuality? To answer that question one must first ask what is the purpose of sex. It may strike some as odd that we would even ask the question. Who says that sex has to have a purpose other than our own sensual gratification? (Certainly not the editors of Cosmo!) But if it is true that everything was created by an Intelligent Supreme Being then everything has a purpose, a reason for which it was created. And the obvious primary purpose of sex is reproduction, which requires a heterosexual relationship. The Bible puts it this way: "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it . . .'" (Gen. 1:27,28). Men are expected to marry women, love their wives, produce offspring, and raise their children. The nuclear family that thus results is the foundation stone of human society. The home should be a place where children are nurtured and socialized.
It is for this reason that adultery is considered to be one of the worst of all sins. It is specifically condemned in the Ten Commandments, and it carried the death penalty under Old Testament law. Anything that deviates from the divinely ordained pattern and undermines the institution of marriage and the stability of the family is a perversion of what God intended. This would include prostitution, divorce and bestiality.
Seen in this light homosexuality is an extreme form of lawlessness, a radical disregard for God's will. In the Old Testament God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah partially because of this sin. In the New Testament it is described as a sign of advanced moral decadence. According to Romans chapter 1 the problem begins with secularism – the stubborn refusal to acknowledge God as Creator and Lord (vv. 18-23). The text then goes on to describe the next step: "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another" (v. 24). As we advance even further into moral degradation we come to this: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (vv. 26,27). Note: the push for gay marriage is an indication of God's judgment on our society – God has "given us up" to our sinful passions and desires.
What is assumed here is a sense of what is natural and decent. There is something unnatural and grotesque about sodomy. Homosexuals are using their sexual organs in a way for which they obviously were not intended, a bit like sticking your knife into your mouth when you eat. Even from a purely secular standpoint there is something profoundly unnatural and dysfunctional about homosexuality, which is why same-sex attraction used to be known as "Gender Identity Disorder," for indeed that is what it is.
Which brings us back to a point that we made earlier. All of the forms of behavior condemned in I Cor. 6 involve conscious choices on the part of human beings. We are thinking, rational creatures. We can tell the difference between right and wrong. God holds us accountable for our actions. Ultimately all sin is a form of rebellion against God – a willful disregard for His commandments, which is why we are repeatedly told that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Can we really expect to disobey God and not suffer the consequences?
*We understand that Robertson has since been reinstated.
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The Queer Scouts of America?
Morality = Bigotry?
God Never Changes